Academies are state funded schools, funded by Central Government and moved away from the local authority. (And moved away from the expertise and local knowledge that the authorities had)
Although the day to day remains the same with a Head or Principal they are overseen by charitable bodies called "Academy Trusts" and could even by part of an academy chain. They have more freedom over the curriculum and don't need to follow hard fought teachers pay and conditions. Head Teachers may be paid on "bums on seats" so for some the larger the school the better.
And of course it starts off with money. They receive "conversion" costs and more money per student. It can "buy in" services that used to be provided by the local authorities.
So in a nutshell it's about privatising the Educational System.
And the facts and fiction:
- Students do not perform better in an Academy
- Schools become less accountable as they are out of local authority control
- Teachers potentially may be told that they may not join a union
- Teachers may be paid less and the pay scales not recognised
- Academies have a high rate of student exclusions
- Academies funded by narrow interest groups could choose to teach, for example creationism over biology
- It may be that certain students are granted admission
- A "teacher" may not have formal teaching qualifications in an Academy
And "Free Schools?" - Read on McDuff.....